THE BIG HURT: Hurt file, September 18-23

NOTE: This column focuses on injury analysis, so we don't cover the progress of every injured player. We try to highlight the key fantasy contributors, unusual injuries, or situations where the official projected return is variable or not given. Players whose progress is proceeding as expected are very well covered by fantasy news sources; we'll tend to leave those players alone unless we have something we want to add to the news coverage. This column is updated on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Mondays.

Last week's column (September 11-16)


We're in the home stretch now (coincidentally, what Archie Bradley is doing, too), and this is the final week of coverage for the Hurt File. Our next official BaseballHQ gig will be at First Pitch Arizona.

September 23, 2019

Kolten Wong (2B, STL) – L hamstring strain (9/19/19)
This is been diagnosed as a Grade 2 strain. Though the team is hoping he’ll be back by the weekend, the typical recovery for a Grade 2 strain is several weeks, not eight days. It’s pretty unlikely he’ll be able to play the rest of the way.
2019 Impact: Probably out
2020 Impact: None

Kris Bryant (3B, CHC) – R ankle sprain (9/22/19)
Magneuris Sierra (OF, MIA) – L leg injury (9/22/19)
Robinson Cano (2B, NYM) – R foot, toe contusion (9/22/19)

Here are three injuries, all of which might require a brief IL stint under normal circumstances. Sierra is likely to miss the rest of the season, as the Marlins have nothing left to play for. Bryant could miss the bulk of the next week, while Cano could return in a couple of days or so.
2019 Impact: All three could miss some or all of the rest of the season

Adalberto Mondesi (SS, KC) – L shoulder subluxation(?) (9/22/19)
They told him not to dive! He didn’t listen, and may have reinjured the same shoulder that kept him out for six weeks earlier. He’s done.
2019 Impact: Out
2020 Impact: Minimal

Josh VanMeter (OF, CIN), Freddy Galvis (SS, CIN), Kevin Gausman (RHP, CIN), Michael Lorenzen (RHP, CIN), Robert Stephenson (RHP, CIN) – Flu (9/21/19)
Symptoms subside in 2-3 days, though it can take up to a week to feel right again. There’s also a risk of other players coming down with it as well.
2019 Impact: Elevated risk; Risk of reduced production
Est. Return: September 24-25


September 21, 2019

Kolten Wong (2B, STL) – L hamstring strain (9/19/19)
He’s having an MRI, so there will be some more definite information soon. However, if it’s anything more than a tweak, he’s effectively done for the regular season. Even if it’s very minor, you have him on your roster for his running game, and bad hamstrings tend to get in the way of running. If you’re in a weekly league and have to make a decision soon, we’d bench or drop him. Otherwise, watch the news, but don’t expect much from him the rest of the way.
2019 Impact: High risk; likely reduced output
Est. Return: Sept. 24-26, maybe

Jean Segura (SS, PHI) – L hamstring cramps (9/19/19)
From the perspective of a professional baseball player, cramps are most likely due to dehydration or overuse. We’re going to go with overuse. He can certainly return quickly, but there is a risk of damage to the muscle.
2019 Impact: Elevated risk
Est. Return: Sept. 20-22

Ketel Marte (2B/OF, ARI) – Back inflammation (9/17/19)
There are many things he can do long-term to help him deal with a balky back, as this sounds like it’s a soft-tissue (i.e., muscle) problem. He believes the extra running (and perhaps the hard surface at Chase Field) has put extra strain on his back. Over the winter, he can work to strengthen the muscles, while also increasing flexibility, and this should help guard against future problems. Of course, none of this will occur in the next week—he’ll probably focus on stretching and medication. In theory, he could return in a few days, but the team has no reason to push him, so he’s at least 50/50 to be done with his 2019 campaign.
2019 Impact: Elevated risk; variable return time
Est. Return: Sept. 22-25, if at all

Craig Kimbrel (RHP, CHC) – R elbow inflammation (9/1/19) UPDATE
He came off the IL Thursday (9/20) and blew the save against the Cardinals. His velocity was down from just before the injury, which is a concern. However, he struck out two and walked only one, and the home run he gave up was thrown at 96 mph. That ball, however, did not have much movement, and the ability to spin the ball could be hampered if his elbow still isn’t right. Much of this is informed speculation, but that’s where we need to go sometimes. The bottom line: He could still be feeling the effects, and he can’t go on back-to-back days, making him a risky, bottom-tier source of saves the rest of the way.
2019 Impact: High risk; reduced production
Est. Return: Now, but with caveats

Dellin Betances (RHP, NYY) – L heel, torn Achilles tendon (9/15/19)
He suffered a partial tear and will not need surgery. The closest comp is Zack Britton (LHP, NYY), who did need surgery and took six months to recover, but Betances won’t need that long. There are two concerns here. The first is that his off-season program will be delayed, which could put him a little behind when the spring rolls around. The second is his prolonged absence this season. It’s his first IL trip since 2012, but the length of his recovery is a concern, especially where it’s a shoulder issue. Expect him to be healthy in 2020 but realize he’s a high risk.
2019 Impact: Out
2020 Impact: High risk


September 18, 2019

Archie Bradley (RHP, ARI) – Back spasms (9/16/19)
Back spasms can be very painful (trust us) and they're not something a player can just play through, though the team expects his absence to be a short one. Spasms are the body's reaction to some underlying issue, often a muscle strain. While they can be treated and somewhat resolved in a couple of days, they usually take 1-3 weeks to fully resolve. Arizona isn't mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, but they're looking up at four teams for the second wild-card spot, so it's possible they're out before Bradley is ready to return. At that point, there would be no reason to bring him back if he's not 100 percent. Adding that all up: he could be back in a couple of days or not until 2020.
2019 Impact: High risk; variable return time
Est. Return: Sept. 18-21 (best estimate)

Carlos Martinez (RHP, STL) – Asthma (9/15/19)
He suffered an asthma attack over the weekend, but pitched on Monday (Sept. 16), so he's officially back. This was his first such attack, so the concern is that he doesn't yet know what might trigger an attack or what the early warning signs might be. There's no reason to expect that something will go wrong, but his risk is certainly elevated. Then again, asthmatics can go for long stretches without an attack, so it's something to keep an eye on rather than a present threat.
2019 Impact: Elevated risk
Est. Return: He's back, baby!

Anthony Rizzo (1B, CHC) – R ankle sprain (9/15/19) – UPDATE
The good news is that it's a mild sprain (likely Grade 1), so we're telling you there's a chance. He'll be out a week at a minimum, with his chances of playing increasing each day thereafter. Keep in mind that even mild sprains usually take 2-4 weeks, so he's at best 50/50 for meaningful at-bats the rest of the way.
2019 Impact: Still a good chance he's out for the remainder
Est. Return: Sept. 23-25 at the earliest

Mookie Betts (OF, BOS) – L foot, soreness (9/12/19)
He likely suffered the injury a few days agon in Toronto, though he doesn't remember a specific incident. It's actually a toe that's bothering him, though there's no word at all as to the cause, nor even how sore it is. He recently saw a doctor, so the team presumably knows what's wrong, but there's no timetable for his return. There's a pretty wide range of possibilities, from a sprain to a stress fracture to gout. A sprain is the most likely; however, even a mild sprain means 2-4 weeks away from baseball. The best we can say right now is that there's still pain, so he's a few days away at a minimum. With the Red Sox on the brink of elimination, he could also be done.
2019 Impact: Belichick-like shroud of secrecy around injury; variable return time
Est. Return: Sept. 20-22 at the very earliest; not until 2020 is a possibility

Jason Kipnis (2B, CLE) – R wrist fracture (9/15/19)
It's the dreaded hamate bone, that power-sucking little bone at the base of the hand. While it's always a concern when a player returns in-season, by the time 2020 rolls around, he should be at 100 percent. There's an outside chance he could be back for the World Series if the Indians make it that far.
2019 Impact: Out
2020 Impact: Minimal

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